Mac n cheese has exploded all over London (not literally, or we'd be out licking the streets right now). From street food trucks to glamorous restaurant side dishes, this creamy crowd pleaser makes an appearance everywhere. Here's where to find the best in London.
Goodman Steak House Restaurant
Goodman are serious steak houses, with some considering them better than the original London steak pedlars, Hawskmoor. Everything here is high quality, and you'll pay accordingly. Giant, dry aged steaks are presented at the table prior to cooking, then taken away, grilled, sliced and returned, along with your choice of sides. Guess what you should be including in your order? Yep, it's the mac n cheese.
This being Goodman, it's not just any mac n cheese -- it comes with the addition of truffle. Why not? Twisty macaroni is coated in a rich truffle sauce, topped with crunchy parmesan.
Super hip cocktail bar and diner Spuntino was inspired by similar joints in America, so it's no surprise they do a mean mac n cheese. This super stringy number is very rich thanks to a combination of parmesan, fontina and mozzarella cheeses.
We love the addition of sprightly leeks in the mix along with garlic but the real icing on the cake (or crust on the mac) is the panko breadcrumbs. These Japanese crumbs are well known for producing the crispest of toppers, and they're used to great effect here.Deliveroo now from Soho
Anna Mae's has been serving mac n cheese from their street food truck since 2010. It proved so popular, they even published a book of recipes. The owners loved Southern American food and the decision to focus on mac was born out of necessity -- a broken down truck meant they had to pick their favourite dish to sell, as it was all they could carry. The rest is cheesy history. They even cooked at the London Olympics in 2012.
The secret to the success of their mac n cheese is, unremarkably, "loads of cheese -- if you're not sure it's enough, add more". It's hard to argue with that. Their elbow macaroni comes in a three cheese sauce as standard, with variations including crispy bacon and basil oil (the Don Macaroni) and mac with beef hotdog, BBQ sauce and crispy onions (the Kanye Western).
The Hawksmoor Air Street branch has a fishy focus to the menu (they do steaks too, don't worry) and one of their greatest dishes is the lobster mac n cheese. The cast iron pot arrives at your table still gently rising and lowering from the heat, cheesy bubbles popping at the sides. We recommend spending at least five minutes on your steak before you even think about digging in.
Lobster is a brilliant luxe touch to a mac, and something we'd never bother to do at home. As ever Hawksmoor, bravo.
Grill My Cheese
With a permanent spot at Leather Lane Market there's no need to chase this street food truck around town. They specialise in all things grilled cheese (or cheese toastie, to give its proper name) but there's a mac n cheese number which is particularly worthy of your attention. The American-inspired Baby Got Mac comes complete with pulled pork, mac and cheese, and smoky BBQ sauce on organic sourdough. Who says we can't eat cheesy pasta sandwiches?
The Hotbox mac n cheese is famous because it's a rare thing -- a BBQ restaurant mac that isn't just a limp afterthought. The silky cheese sauce doesn't overwhelm and make you feel stuffed within minutes like many do, plus it has a gentle smoke flavour, making it stand out from the rest of the pack. We can highly recommend ordering one or two portions with brunch, washing down with copious bloody mary's then heading straight back to bed for a snooze.Deliveroo now from Spitalfields
So simple but so right. On paper, a toasted cheese restaurant is the sort of thing your grandmother reads about, horrified that Londoners will fork out £4 upwards for glorified cheddar on bread. Try one of these toasties in all its thick, melted beauty however, and it's hard not to think of Melt Room as less glorified, more just outright glorious.
The do a mac n cheese toastie, naturally, which you can have in a toastie with just cheese, or with bacon, or chorizo. The bacon option makes one of the best hangover busting breakfasts ever, FYI.Deliveroo now from Soho
CLAW specialise in crab, so you've probably worked out what makes their macaroni cheese so special. We've long loved their crab fries, which come topped with beautiful fresh white crab meat, spring onions, parsley and lemon. But the mac n cheese recently took over as our number one dish.
We ate this at their residency at Soho's Sun and 13 Cantons, but look out for it whenever you see their name -- a cast iron pot of bubbling pasta and cheese wafts its way towards you, spellbinding with crabby scent. We think the secret here is brown meat, enriching the mixture and bringing intense crab flavour. It's sealed with a golden crust of cheddar. Yes please.